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The Secret Scroll

The Secret ScrollTHE HISTORIAN Andrew Sinclair is acclaimed as one of the world’s foremost experts on the story of the Holy Grail. A founding fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, he has taught and travelled widely across the world. In his new book, he draws on years of research to explain the importance of a discovery that he believes holds the key to the Grail mystery — and much else besides. It is a story that combines religious heresy, Masonic secrets, and the bloodthirsty adventures of the Crusades. 

Part 1

WHEN I saw Paradise, I was standing in a Masonic lodge on an island in the North Atlantic, 24 miles off the Scottish coast. Before me was a vast cloth scroll, more than 18ft long and 5ft wide, carrying a vision of the Garden of Eden so beautiful that I could hardly believe my eyes.

In faded pastel colours, a six-pointed sun and a moon with a face surrounded by seven stars shone down from the sky. Between them was a row of six mysterious symbols that might be numerals or runes.

In a strip of ocean under a mountain chain, an eel and a fish cavorted with a whale and four other varieties of sea creature.

On the ground were three doves, a swan, a ewe and a ram, a serpent, a maned lion and other beasts that rang the changes from black cattle to a camel. 

Behind all these was a strange hermaphrodite figure, both Adam and Eve at once, under the shade of a Tree Of Life. Male and female were merged into one being, in an image far removed from conventional Christianity. 

As I gazed up, I sensed that I had chanced upon one of the great treasures of the Middle Ages, perhaps rivalled only by the 13th-century Mappa Mundi that hangs in Hereford Cathedral. It was a priceless relic that would demand the rewriting of medieval history. 

For years, the scroll had lain neglected in a Masonic room at the old town hall in Kirkwall on the island of Orkney. The Masons had moved it into their present lodge in the late 19th-century. 

It had been in their hands for so long that they no longer realised its full importance. Only by enormous good fortune had I, a trained historian, been invited to examine it while attending a conference on the island. 

My eyes darted across the vast surface, dazzled by its magical and heretical images. The biblical golden calf was being worshipped on an inverted cross. On another cross was a fiery serpent with two priests bowing down before it. 

Closer examination showed that the scroll consisted of a centrepiece and two side panels. On the central part, beneath the Garden Of Eden, were dozens of mystic signs and two angels guarding the Ark Of The Covenant — the casket containing the Ten Commandments on their tablets of stone.

AT THE sides, in two strips, were primitive maps of Egypt and Palestine. They showed the wanderings of Moses and the Twelve Tribes Of Israel, searching for the Promised Land, and a Christian attack up the Nile during the Seventh Crusade. 

The link to the Crusades was the vital clue I needed. There was much work still to be done, but the scroll’s significance was clear. 

This was a message resounding across the centuries from one of the most fascinating and mysterious military orders ever to bear arms — the Knights Templars. 

It was a message that conveyed the hidden religious wisdom of an heretical tradition that has been suppressed by the Church for two millennia.

Through this scroll, the Templars had passed on their knowledge to the Freemasons. The scroll was a missing link between these two secret brotherhoods.

It was new proof that the Templars had sought refuge in Britain, carrying their treasures with them, after fleeing persecution In France at the start of the 14th-century.

My researches would show how they had played a key role in one of the great battles of British history, and how their astonishing skills had enabled sailors from Scotland to cross the Atlantic to North America nearly a century before Columbus.

The scroll was a key to all these secrets, and yet it was still more. For I believe that the scroll is a treasure map, setting out an ancient code that offers vital clues in the greatest quest that mankind has ever known — the search for the Holy Grail.

It is a search that has dominated my life, and which I believe leads to a chapel in Scotland that is one of the most enigmatic and extraordinary places on Earth.

HUNTING for the Holy Grail is rather like hunting for Lewis Carroll’s Snark. It comes in many shapes, it leaves many trails, and, if you find it, the only certainty is that it won’t be what you were looking for. Like the hunters in Carroll’s poem, you’ll discover that the Snark was a Boojum after all. 

The most common image of the Grail is a chalice or bowl. According to one tradition, it is the cup from which wine was drunk at the Last Supper as a symbol of Christ’s blood. Pictures and church windows across Europe show Joseph of Arimathea using this same cup to catch the blood of Christ from the cross.

Confusingly, perhaps, Mary Magdalene is shown doing the same thing, using her long red hair to wipe the gore from Christ’s nailed feet and squeeze it into a precious casket of her own. The message to us is clear — there is not one Grail, but many.

Indeed, in the literature of the Middle Ages, the Grail could be anything from a green meteorite to a silver platter with a severed head on it. For some, it was the lance that pierced Christ’s side at the Crucifixion. For others, it was the lost Ark Of The Covenant.

Two of the most celebrated Grails were located in Constantinople, now Istanbul. They were the jewelled receptacles that held the Holy Shroud, in which Christ’s body had been wrapped after death, and the Veil Of Saint Veronica, used to wipe the sweat and blood off his face on the way to Calvary

When Constantinople fell to the Crusaders in 1204, these two Grai]s came into the hands of the Knights Templars. The veil eventually reached the Vatican, and the shroud — or its copy — ended up in Turin.

BUT what became of their precious cases? And what of the other sacred treasures accumulated by the Templars who were hailed in medieval literature as the Guardians Of The Grail?

To find out, we must look more closely at the order’s bloody and turbulent history.

The Templars were founded in 1118 in Jerusalem, two decades after the Holy City had been wrested from Moslem control during the First Crusade, amid scenes of massacre and destruction.

Contemporary accounts of the conquest speak of ‘mounds of heads, hands and feet’ filling streets that were ankle-deep in gore.

Despite the Christian victory, Moslem marauders continued to attack visitors to the region’s newly liberated shrines. The nine founding Templars vowed to live the life of armed monks, defending the faith and protecting pilgrims.

They made their headquarters at the Dome Of The Rock, the Moslem mosque in Jerusalem that marks the spot where the prophet Mohammed rose to heaven, and which is also one of the most sacred sites in the world for Christianity and Judaism.

It was here that Abraham came to sacrifice Isaac, here that King David brought the Ark Of The Covenant and here that David’s son, Solomon, built his great temple, from which the Knights took their name.

The Temple of Solomon was the wonder of its age, glittering with precious and base metals as if forged in the fires of heaven. But it was destroyed by the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the fate of the fabulous relics it contained has remained a mystery ever since.

Legend has it that the founding Templars spent their first years digging beneath their feet for this lost treasure, including the Ark Of The Covenant. Among many fantastical allegations is that they discovered the embalmed head of Christ.

Beguiling as such stories may be they remain speculation, and the Templars were soon engaged in far less outlandish activities.

The forces they built up — at their height numbering about 20,000 knights — became a vital element in the defence of the Crusader states, and garrisoned every town of size in the Holy Land.

Clad in their distinctive uniform of a white surcoat marked with a red. cross, the Templars were fearless and disciplined fighters. So long as their black and white banner still flew, no Templar could leave the field of battle.

Every aspect of their life was regimented. Long hair was forbidden and beards were compulsory. Shoes and breeches had to be worn at night so that the men were ready to fight at a moment’s notice. There was even a rule dictating the correct way for a Templar to cut cheese. It was an austere regime, and personal possessions were outlawed. But military success brought plunder, and the knights gathered priceless stores of holy relics and other treasures.

They were also astute businessmen, garnering enormous wealth as a combination of bankers, diplomats and medieval travel agents, making safe the major trade and pilgrimage routes across Europe.

Bolstered by donations of land from noble families, the Templars grew into a multi-national conglomerate. In every country where they established themselves, they became a state within a state, their Grand Master a king among kings.

However, their days of glory were numbered. In 1187, less than 100 years after the Christian conquest, Jerusalem was recaptured for Islam by the great warrior Saladin. The Templars were ousted from their headquarters.

Although a succession of new crusades were launched, Jerusalem never came back into Christian control. With the fall of Acre, their last stronghold in the Holy Land in 1291, the Knights Templars lost their main reason for existence.

Their phenomenal wealth now made them marked men. The Templars had 9,000 manors across Europe, none of which paid taxes to any ruler, thanks to the patronage of the Pope.

Their home at the Temple in Paris was the centre of the world’s money market, and Europe’s crowned heads were forced to come to them for loans.

Combined with an appearance of arrogance and secrecy, such riches could inspire only envious hatred. The French king, Philip the Fair, plotted the knights’ destruction.

On Friday, October 13, 1307— the original Friday the 13th — he planned to have every one of the 3,000 Templars in his kingdom arrested in one night. Although many fled to safety, hundreds were arrested and tortured.

ON THE basis of confessions drawn from men whose limbs had been stretched on the rack and whose feet were roasted over fires until the bones fell out, the Templars were accused of blasphemy and sexual perversion. Their initiation ceremonies were said to have involved spitting, stamping or urinating on an image of Christ on the cross. Homosexuality was said to be rife within the order, or even compulsory.

The knights were also said to have worshipped a severed head called Baphomet, stored within a reliquary of precious metal. Some would claim the bearded head had three faces and glowed in the dark. Although such stories reeked of superstition and invention, and although the confessions of tortured men were worthless and often later retracted, the truth is that the Templars had indeed strayed far beyond orthodox Christianity.

Their beliefs, and their secret rites, were rooted in Gnosticism —one of the great heresies of the Christian faith, to which they had been exposed in the Middle East.

Its name is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning higher knowledge, and its central tenet is that its adherents can come into direct and intimate contact with God without the intervention of a priest or a church.

Gnosticism draws together threads from astrology, alchemy and the old pagan faiths that predate Christianity. Its texts include apocryphal gospels by the apostle Thomas — the doubter said to have poked his fingers into the wounds of the risen Christ — and Mary Magdalene.

For the Gnostics, official worship is at best a delusion, at worst the work of Satan. True understanding can come only through a process of mystical initiation in which the spiritually elect will achieve a personal vision of the divine.

This was the supreme sin of the Templars: to preach the approach to God through personal inspiration outside the rules of orthodox religion. Their purported worship of the severed head can best be understood as a complex piece of Gnostic symbolism — the worship of the divine mind, the ultimate wisdom, the head of the faith.

But the king of France was not interested in understanding what the Templars really believed. He was interested in wiping them out, and the Pope eventually supported him by ordering the arrest of all Templars in other territories.

It was in vain for the order’s elderly Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, to retract his confessions of heresy when he was brought on to a scaffold in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to receive his sentence in 1314.

‘I confess that I am indeed guilty of the greatest infamy,’ he said. 'But that infamy is that I have lied. I have lied in admitting the disgusting charges against my order.

‘I declare, and I must declare, that the order is innocent. Its purity and saintliness have never been defiled. In truth, I have testified otherwise, but I did so from fear of horrible tortures.’

He was burned alive at the stake the next day. The power of the Knights Templars seemed at an end — but as the secret scroll shows, that was far from true.

ALTHOUGH King Philip’s destruction of the Templars was as efficient as Hitler’s coup against the Brownshirts, during the Night Of The Long Knives in 1934, there is no record of him finding their treasure in Paris, or their secret archives.

The evidence suggests that these were removed by ship, using the Templar fleet based at La Rochelle in Brittany, after senior knights were tipped off about the purge.

Some of the refugee Templars took their galleys to Portugal, where they were reconstituted as the Knights Of Christ.

The African explorer, Vasco de Gama, was a member of the renamed order, and Prince Henry the Navigator — who founded the world’s first school of navigation —was to become a Grand Master.

In other European countries, the Templars vanished, went underground, or merged with other orders. In Germany, many joined the ranks of the Teutonic Knights — later to be one of Hitler’s great inspirations — as they carved out an empire to the east.

However, most of the sea-borne Templars made for Scotland, laden with their sacred relics, treasures and records. According to one French Masonic tradition, the priceless haul was taken on nine vessels to the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth.

This is borne out by Templar tombstones I discovered at Currie, near Edinburgh, Westkirk, near Culross, and other sites along the Forth. Carved into the ancient stones were images of swords, crosses, Gratis and the steps of the Temple of Solomon.

The Templars knew that they would find a protector in the Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who had been excommunicated by the Pope and would have no interest in obeying the order to suppress them.

HE WOULD also value their martial skills in his struggles against his English rival, Edward II. Proof of that came in the extraordinary events of the Battle Of Bannockburn, fought near Stirling Castle on the Forth, just three months after Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake.

Robert the Bruce was outnumbered by the English army at least three to one, with 6,000 men pitted against 20,000. His worst deficiency lay in mounted knights.

Accounts of the conflict are sparse and fragmentary. Yet, they testify to two strange events. Shortly before the battle, Bruce received new supplies of weapons from unknown sources — much to the fury of King Edward.

Then, while the fight was raging and after Bruce had sent his final reserve of mounted troops into action against the English archers, a fresh force of horsemen appeared with banners flying and routed the enemy.

One Scottish legend claims that these were camp followers riding ponies and waving pitchforks, but such a mob could never have put the English king and 500 of his knights to immediate flight.

Every indication suggests that the squadron that struck terror into the English was made up of exiled Templars.

Each June, on the battle’s anniversary, modern Scottish Ternplars still pay tribute to their predecessors who were martyred here in the struggle for independence.

To show his gratitude for their role at Bannockburn, the Scottish king drew the Templars into the ancient guilds that were the forerunners of today’s Masons. It was a perfect cover to ensure the Templars’ survival.

Among those who fought with Bruce were three of my ancestors, the St Clairs of Rosslyn, a family closely associated with the Templars. One of them, William de St Clair, would later die with other Scottish knights in a charge against the Moslems in Spain, while taking the heart of Bruce for burial in Jerusalem.

His was the first Templar tombstone I discovered in Scotland. Broken Into three pieces, it lay ignored in a dark corner of the 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh.

Crouching in the gloom, I could hardly make out the design of the oblong slab. But, using flower and vegetable dyes, a rubbing was made that revealed the tell-tale cup of the Grail and. a medieval crusading sword. But even more magical than this discovery was the building in which I had made it. For Rosslyn Chapel lies at the heart of the Grail mystery — and the story of the secret scroll.

THE chapel at Rosslyn stands in the shadow of an ancient wood, planted on the Pentland Hills in the shape of a Templar cross. Set in an otherwise unassuming village, it is perhaps the most extravagantly ornamented sacred place in Northern Europe.

Small and irregularly shaped, every inch of the chapel’s ancient stones is encrusted with lavish carvings in which pagan symbols of the Green Man and representations of the Temple of Solomon jostle together in one mystic tapestry.

Many Templar signs and seals are cut into the walls, and the influence of the Gnostic heresy is everywhere, in designs of such rich profusion that nobody has succeeded in unravelling them.

One carving calls to mind the Templar worship of the head of Baphomet — it shows a bearded face, with horns, peering over the tablets of the word of God, brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai. Another shows the head of Christ on the Veil of Saint Veronica.

Elsewhere, an upside-down angel is shown bound by a rope — a Gnostic image of Lucifer as the angel of light and intelligence, constrained by the rope of order.

The chapel was founded by my ancestor William St Clair, Earl of Orkney, who employed masons from all over Europe to execute his complex vision. Its most extraordinary feature of all is its unique roof — a great barrel-vault of solid stone — in which the Holy Grail is shown, set amid the stars, pouring forth the waves of God’s grace.

Many have claimed that Rosslyn is the ultimate hiding place of the Grail. Sir Walter Scott recorded the legend of 20 knights said to be buried in full armour in its vaults as if on eternal sentry duty over some great treasure.

SOME others have claimed that the Grail is housed inside the barley sugar curves of the chapel’s curious Apprentice Pillar, entwined with eight stone serpents. The Nazis were obsessed by the Grail mysteries, and Rosslyn was inspected by one of their emissaries in 1930.

I was determined to learn the truth, and my cousin Niven Sinclair obtained permission to make a groundscan of the building using the latest radar techniques developed for modern archaeology. What we found was hugely exciting.

There was, indeed, evidence of hidden vaults. The radar pulses also detected what appeared to be metal — the armour, perhaps, of the buried knights. One particularly large signal also suggested the existence of a metallic shrine. The problem was how to reach the vaults. The groundscan had shown two stairways leading beneath the slabs.

Laboriously, one set of flagstones was lifted, rubble was cleared and three steep stone steps were exposed leading to a vault below. I was the first to squirm into this secret chamber.

It was small, comprising the space between the foundation of two pillars. It was arched with stone, but access to the main vaults beyond had been sealed by a thick wall of masonry.

The soggy wood from three coffins had been stacked against the blocking wall. Sifting through the debris, I found human bones and the fragments of two skulls, two rusty coffin handles, a mason’s whetstone — and a simple oak bowl.

That is what the original Grail from the Last Supper would have been — a wooden platter passed by Jesus Christ in His divine simplicity to His poor Apostles. But the one I held in my hands had no doubt been left by the same medieval mason who discarded his whetstone.

We lifted the slabs to a second staircase, supposing they might lead down to the shrine, only to discover many feet of earth and sand. This was a bitter disappointment. We had not realised how deep the lower vaults lay, and how much infill was packed above them.

Drills were called in to force through a narrow hole, down which we would lower an industrial endoscope — a tiny camera at the end of a glass fibre tube, as flexible as the head of a striking snake, which could point at buried objects under the light of a laser beam. It could operate to a depth of more than 30ft and transmit colour images to our monitor screen above ground.

As we drilled deeper and deeper into the centre of the chapel, we struck 3ft of solid stone. Finally, the drill bit broke through into open space — only to jam fast. Only after working day and night did we manage to remove the drill and introduce the protective pipe through which we could drop the endoscope.

At last, it seemed that we were about to see what lay inside the chamber of the Knights. But the bidden shrine was still not ready to give up its secrets.

Again and again, we pushed the pipe down the drill hole. Again and again, inflll poured down and blocked it. All we ever saw on our monitor was dust and detritus clogging up the end of the pipe.

After a week of work, we were defeated. For now, Rosslyn would keep its secrets.

BUT what if there were a treasure map — a chart that would prove once and for all that the Templars had hidden their sacred relics beneath these stones? This was what I found when I was invited to the Masonic lodge at Kirkwall on Orkney. Although I myself am not a Mason, my ancestors and relatives have been the traditional Grand Masters of all the crafts and guilds of Scotland for many centuries.

The great scroll that I was shown had been in the hands of the Masons for so long that they themselves were unsure of its origins. So far as the outside world was concerned, it might never have existed.

But it was clear to me that this vast piece of painted sailcloth, blackened at the edges, was a storehouse of mystic Templar wisdom. Much of the imagery could have come straight from the carved walls of Rosslyn Chapel.

When I saw the hermaphrodite figure of Adam and Eve, I knew that I was seeing the ancient goddess Sophia, a symbol of the divine wisdom that merges both masculine and feminine. Below this Gnostic vision of Eden were dozens of the most ancient Templar and Masonic signs.

The serpent worshipped on the cross, for example, was another symbol of arcane knowledge — a source of truth and illumination, not the malign tempter of the conventional Bible account.

At the left of the scroll was a mounted Moslem knight, beside an armed camp besieging a city on one of the mouths of the Nile delta. My Investigations told me that this could only be Damietta, taken and lost in two Crusades.

If the scroll was not Templar in origin, the selection of images was hard to fathom. But the greatest revelation, and the one that made my long quest worthwhile, lay at the base of the scroll’s central section.

Here, fringed by banners and geometric patterns, I found a painting of the Temple of Solomon that provided nothing less than a blueprint of its secret chambers.

PAINTED in rough perspective, the groundplan clearly set out the two hidden vaults containing the Ark Of The Covenant and the tablets handed down to Moses. 

What took my breath away was that the plan was exactly that of Rosslyn Chapel. When I compared the image to an architectural survey of Rosslyn, everything was in the right place, pointing to the east.

The scroll showed the Ark within its secret tabernacle, with three great arches supporting a buried catacomb. To my astonishment, the vaults were precisely where we had dug for the lost Templar treasure at Rosslyn.

I already knew that when William St Clair built Rosslyn Chapel, he was trying to create the Temple of Solomon anew.

That was why the walls were studded with 20 little images of the original Temple. That was why Rosslyn’s Apprentice Pillar was complemented by another ornate pillar in the Lady Chapel, so that together they represented Jachin and Boaz, the fabled pillars that held up Solomon’s building.

The eight serpents writhing at the foot of the Apprentice Pillar enshrined the legend of the Shamir, a mysterious worm-like creature whose touch split and shaped stone, and whose magic powers enabled Solomon to build the Temple without iron tools. This was a secret jealously kept by Hiram, the architect of the Temple, whose face also appears on the pillar.

For years, this face of a man with a wound in his forehead was associated with a legendary apprentice, said to have carved the pillar and then been killed for his presumption by his master mason.

In fact, this seems to be just a Christian cover story for Solomon’s great builder who was killed by fellow craftsmen when he refused to surrender his secrets, which are said to be guarded by the Masons to this day.

Now, in addition to all these clues, we had the Orkney scroll — not only showing that Rosslyn was the Temple rebuilt, but giving the clearest possible sign that Templar treasures were buried beneath it.

JUST one problem remained. I was faced by sceptics who claimed the scroll was not a medieval relic at all, but the work of an 18th-century house painter who presented the Kirkwall Masons with a ‘floor cloth’ when he was admitted to their number in 1786. The gift was referred to in the lodge minutes of the time, although the fate of the ‘floor cloth’ was left unclear.

The only answer was a scientific test. An inspector from the local CID, who was a Mason from the Kirkwall lodge, gave me fragments of the scroll for radio-carbon dating. I went to the same Oxford laboratory that had identified the Holy Shroud Of Turin as a fake. Would the secret scroll be discredited, too? Far from It.

After months of suspense, and one initial test that seemed to show the scroll was not more than 50 years old, my theory was vindicated. The scientists dated the scroll to the 15th-century — the period of the building of Rosslyn Chapel.

Who now can doubt that something truly glorious is buried at Rosslyn? Is it the Ark of the Covenant itself? The chalice of the Grail? The containers of the Holy Shroud and the Holy Veil from Constantinople? Maybe it is best not to speculate, but I am convinced that there is something. I doubt, however, that we will ever see it. Since my own attempt to drill into the vaults, Rosslyn Chapel has been taken over by a private trust dedicated to its conservation. Legal restrictions mean that disruptive excavations in the immediate future are unlikely.

It seems that the knights who guard the treasures will not be disturbed in their tombs, and perhaps that is how it should be.

According to legend, they will reappear only on the Day of Judgment, when the stone slabs will crack open.

Part 2

HIGH on a hill with a commanding view over Massachusetts, the Westford Knight lies on his ledge of rock, a silent witness to one of the most remarkable sea journeys in the history of navigation. His existence was first recorded in 1883. A local history book noted that the ‘rude outlines of the human face’ had been traced in the rock, apparently by native Indians.

On their way to school, boys from the town of Westford sometimes did a war-dance on the Indian face to show off their daring. One even used a chisel to add a pipe of peace, to make it look more authentic. Not until the time of World War II did someone notice that this wasn’t the face of a Red Indian at all. An amateur archaeologist published photographs of the rock, without giving its exact location, and argued that part of it bore the shape of a medieval sword, of European origin, broken in two as a memorial to an exceptionally brave warrior.

Experts scoffed at the theory. But another enthusiast, Frank Glynn, spent years tracking down the mysterious figure in the rock. When he finally found it, he stripped away the turf and moss to reveal a series of punch-holes and hammer blows tracing the funeral effigy of a helmeted knight-of-arms. Nearby, he came across a carved stone, which a local farmer had unearthed by a track to the sea. The stone showed the shape of a ship with twin sails on a single mast, along with eight portholes or rowlocks, and the numerals 184. After taking advice from a Cambridge archaeologist, Glynn decided that the numbers signified paces And within a radius of 184 paces, he found three rough stone enclosures, resembling dry docks for small ships. It was a dramatic discovery. Long-established legend claimed that would-be colonists from Scotland had landed on this strip of the New England coast almost a century before Columbus reached the New World in 1492. Had Frank Glynn found proof of their visit? Many local people were sceptical. They insisted the image of the knight was simply a combination of weathering and vandalism by the boy with a chisel. The ship stone was dismissed as an Indian signpost, of only recent vintage.

OTHERS, however, were convinced they now had confirmation of a Scottish expedition to America in the late 14th cebtury. Geologists who studied the knight’s effigy confirmed the marks in the rock were between 500 and 800 years old.

When I visited Westford, I had a rubbing made of the tombstone. The cloth impression clearly showed a gigantic knight, some 7ft tall.

He wore the habit of one of the Christian military orders such as the Knights Templars. At the base of his shield was the outline of ship, similar to one on the coat of arms of my Scottish ancestors, the St Clairs, who fought in the Crusades and were members of the Templars from the order’s earliest days. But if a medieval crusading party from Scotland had reached Westford, surely they would have left other clues? My attention turned to a curious stone tower at Newport in nearby Rhode Island.

Local historians suggested this was merely an old windmill, no older than the 17th century; but I was convinced they were wrong. It was completely the wrong shape for a windmill.

All my instincts and experience told me that I was looking at a medieval Templar church. Clearly based on the stone architecture of Northern Europe in the Middle Ages, the tower was constructed on the model of the ancient Temple Of Solomon in Jerusalem, where the Knights Templars were founded. The design was an octagon within a circle, one of the guiding principles of sacred architecture, with eight arches built into the round walls. This was one of the hallmarks of the Templars. Round churches were rare. The only one in Scotland, built in the 12th century, was in Orphir in Orkney, where my Templar ancestor Henry St Clair was Earl. The arch of its one surviving window was constructed in the same fashion as those of the Newport Tower. Moreover, the unit of measurement of the Newport Tower was not the English foot or yard, nor a Portuguese or Dutch standard, such as 17th-century colonists might have employed. It was the Scottish ell, a cloth measure used in England until Shakespeare’s time, equivalent to just over 37 inches. The diameter of each column in the Newport Tower was exactly one Scottish ell; the diameter of the circle surrounded by the columns was exactly six Scottish ells. On the tower’s first floor was a fireplace made to a 14th-century design. Not only would this have burned down any mill, it was a further link to the Templars and Scotland.

The flames would have shown through a small window facing the fireplace and acted as a beacon for ships entering the local harbour — a feature familiar to me from the watchtower of a church at Corstorphine, near Edinburgh. The Corstorphlne church also holds the grave of Henry St Clair’s daughter, and carvings of the Temple of Solomon and a crusader sword.

Experts even confirmed the tool marks on the Newport Tower’s stones were identical to those of medieval buildings in Orkney and the Shetlands, and could be found nowhere else in New England.

We were now far beyond the realms of mere coincidence — the legend of the Scottish colonists was based on fact.

So who were the men who built this sacred tower, carved the Westford Knight and beat Columbus to America by a century? As my research would show, the story was an astonishing one — and my St Clair ancestors had played a central part in it.

TANTALISING clues to the tale can be seen on the secret scroll that I found in a Masonic lodge in Kirkwall, on Orkney. As I described, this vast wall-hanging dates from the 15th century and is covered with mystic Templar symbols and clues to the location of the Holy Grail.

Hidden among these is the seal of a medieval ship with a single mast, similar to that of the St Clair family. Round it is an odd inscription in dog Latin and code: ‘Noterina et Svltcrinea.’

The first word can be deciphered only as meaning ‘distinguishing marks or symbols’. The last word has no Latin equivalent, but is an anagram of’ St Cler’ and ‘Vina’. Was this a reference to the St Clairs and Vinland — the old Norse name for the New World?

CLOSE by are the heads of two sea serpents — one bearing a crown, the other a cross. They are remarkably similar to the dragon crest of Henry St Clair. Other images include sea-borne angels and the lost Ark Of The Covenant floating on the waves. There were emblems of the Ancient Ark Mariners Guild, a Masonic brotherhood of shipwrights who built the St Clair family’s fleet. I believe the scroll’s symbols reflect the long odyssey of the Templars, from heroes of the Crusades to persecuted pariahs. It was an journey that took them from Jerusalem, where the Ark Of The Covenant was said to be buried beneath their headquarters, across Europe and the Mediterranean to Scotland, where the knights took refuge after the French king — envious of their wealth — sought to exterminate them.

It was in Scotland that they passed on their secret religious wisdom, gathered in the Holy Land, to the Masons. And it was here, too, that they brought the priceless holy relics accumulated during their years of glory.

As I revealed, the secret scroll offers powerful evidence that these relics — which some would hail as the Holy Grail — eventually reached the vaults of Rosslyn Chapel, an extraordinary treasure house of Templar mysticism near Edinburgh.

Rosslyn Chapel was founded by William St Clair; Henry’s grandson, in the 15th century. Astonishingly, it contains carvings showing maize and aloe cactus — crops that were then unknown outside the New World.

Overwhelming evidence suggests that it was Henry St Clair who led the Scottish expedition to America, left behind the Westford Knight and the Newport Tower, and brought back knowledge of the New World crops.

His voyage is said to have taken place around 90 years after the Templars made their exodus from France to Scotland, bringing with them the seamanship and navigational expertise built up while transporting pilgrims and merchants to the Holy Land. It is this expertise that would have been the key to Henry’s astonishing achievement. And although I do not believe that he took the Holy Grail or other Templar treasures on his voyage, he did take with him the idea of the Grail — a holy quest, the civilising mission of a European knight to pagan countries.

The voyage was also a quest for a home. After their catastrophic fall from grace at the start of the 14th century, when their Grand Master and other leaders had been accused of blasphemy and burnt to death, the Templars were refugees. Although they had found protection with King Robert The Bruce, who absorbed them within the early Masonic guilds, it was natural they should look further beyond the seas for a new land where their ideals could take root. The outcast Templars would look to the West, and set out to build their new Jerusalem.

THE story begins with a shipwreck. Nicolo Zeno, a member of a distinguished family of Venetian mariners, which had played a key role in transporting knights to the Holy Land, was caught in a terrible storm.

His vessel was smashed onto the rocks of what has been identified as Fair Isle, between Orkney and the Shetlands. The inhabitants were about to kill him and his crew when they were rescued by a local prince. This was Henry St Clair. Born in 1345, he had become Lord of Rosslyn at the age of 14 and was made Earl of Orkney by the king of Norway just ten years later. A knight skilled in the arts of war, but also a diplomat and deep thinker, he had become a powerful figure in the Scottish royal court. Henry took the shipwrecked Venetians under his wing, and persuaded Nicolo Zeno to write home and get his brother, Antonio, to buy another ship and join him. Henry was to employ the Zeno brothers as his admirals. It is documents compiled from the records they left behind, known as the Zeno map and narrative, that are the best evidence of the Templar expedition to America. They tell how Earl Henry first sent the more experienced Nicolo Zeno on a scouting mission to Greenland. Then, in 1398, Henry set off with Antonio and a fleet of ships, packed with knights and monks, to discover what lay even further west. It was a perilous voyage in rough seas and, at one point, the fleet was scattered, before managing to regroup. However, helped by a following wind, they reached what is now known as Nova Scotia just 18 days after leaving the Faroe Islands, where they had stopped to take on water and supplies.

THE original log of the voyage is lost, and the Zeno narrative was pieced together in 1558 by one of the brothers’ descendants. Sceptics have claimed that it is a forgery — a cynical attempt by the Venetians to steal the thunder of Columbus, hero of the rival city of Genoa.

But this seems unlikely. The Zeno family was one of great honour and integrity, to whom such chicanery would have been utterly foreign.

Then there is the precision of the map showing the brothers’ travels, which was used by other seafarers until the end of the 17th century. The accompanying narrative is equally convincing, particularly in its descriptions of the Nova Scotia shoreline around Cape Breton island.

It speaks of various strange features — a smoking mountain, which came from a great fire in the bottom of a hill; a spring that exuded a substance like pitch that ran into the sea; and many small and timid natives who lived in caves. When I visited Nova Scotia, I found all these things could be substantiated.

Besides being the home of a head-land known as Cape Smokey, so-called because clouds almost always wreath its crests, this area also had natural gas and coal seams burning underground, producing smoke from the bottom of the hills. Oily residues from open coal seams still seep into the rivers that run down to the sea, polluting the beaches with their greasy, black waters. The local Micmac Indian tribes are of small stature, and not as warlike as the neighbouring Algonquins. There are sacred Indian caves in the sea-cliffs and, to this day, the Micmacs tell traditional tales of a tall white man who visited their ancestors from over the seas. His vessel was variously described as a stone canoe and a floating island with trees on It, very manageable and able to go like magic. This suggested a ship with two masts, able to steer with a rudder and sail to the wind.

The mysterious visitor was known as ‘Glooscap’ — a name which, in the Micmac tongue, sounds much like ‘Earl Sinclair’. He was a friend and teacher to the Indians, showing them how to fish with nets and cultivate the soil.

It is a picture of Earl Henry that matches the account of him in the Zeno narrative. Far from being a hostile conqueror, he went to the New World in peace and was determined to live in harmony with the local inhabitants.

Another vital piece of evidence appeared when I was shown a photograph of a primitive ship’s cannon dredged from the sea off the Nova Scotia coast in 1849. I could hardly believe my eyes.

The design — a narrow barrel of welded iron rods, held together by eight rings to keep it from bursting — was one I had seen in the Venice naval museum. It had beep pioneered by the Venetian hero Carlo Zeno, elder brother of Nicolo and Antonio, when he saved his city from the Genoese in 1380.

Clearly, the Zeno brothers had shared this piece of military technology with Henry St Clair, who had used it to armour his boats on their dangerous voyage. Such cannons swiftly became obsolete, so the chance of this one being left by other sailors is remote.

ACCORDING to the Zeno narrative, Earl Henry -was so delighted by the country he had discovered that he immediately began laying plans to establish a city.

However, other members of the expedition were exhausted and feared the approach of winter. He sent them back across the Atlantic, keeping just a small party to continue his explorations.

The evidence of the Westford Knight and the Newport Tower suggests that he made his way around Nova Scotia and down along America’s east coast to what is now Massachusetts. It must have been here that they wintered. I believe that Earl Henry left small parties of colonists behind him, both in Nova Scotia and New England, before finally setting sail for home. Hints of their existence remain on ancient maps.

A 16th-century map of the world in the library of Harvard University, based on a German original marks Nova Scotia with a crowned and bearded knight kneeling by his shield and wearing the surcoat of a military order like the Templars.

The celebrated Dutch globe of 1537, the Frisius-Mercator, depicts the region with three flags containing crosses that have a remarkable resemblance to the Templar war banner. It adds the words terra per britannos inventi - the land was discovered by Britons.

But those early colonists were to be cut off, and no doubt suffered swift extinction, following Henry St Clair’s death less than a year after his return to Orkney in 1400.

He was cut down when sea raiders made a surprise attack on Klrkwall — a deliberate act of assassination by the Baltic traders of the Hanseatic League, who had heard rumours of his activities and feared the competition.

The Templar settlers in the New World were thus left to their fate.

THE influence of the Templars would still be felt in America in later years, but by more indirect and underground means.

As the scroll in the Masonic lodge at Kirkwall makes clear, the great inheritors of the Ternplar tradition are the Freemasons. It was into the forerunners of today’s Masonic guilds that the Templars had merged and disguised themselves after fleeing to Scotland at the start of the 14th century.

This tradition was brought south of the Border when King James VI of Scotland, himself a mason and the ultimate judge of all Masonic disputes, became James I of England in 1603.

However, following the demise of the House of Stuart, many Masonic historians came to disclaim their northern roots, and insisted their lodges had entirely English origins under the Hanoverian kings of the 18th century.

It was left to the Jacobites, the Stuart loyalists, to keep the flame burning. One way in which they did so was to establish Masonic lodges in the American colonies that were true to what was known as the Ancient Scottish Rite.

These did more than just cherish their Templar heritage. They drew together men who believed in religious tolerance, freedom from persecution and political liberty. It is no coincidence that many leaders of the American War of Independence were masons.

LODGE members in Boston, where a new Knights Templars degree was conferred in 1769, were to the fore in the celebrated Tea Party. The most prominent mason of all was George Washington, revolutionary general and first President of his liberated nation.

His brothers in the American Supreme Council of the Ancient Scottish Rite would proudly commission a commemorative painting of him laying the foundation stone of the United States Capitol in his Masonic apron and regalia.

Washington would also stamp Templar and Masonic symbols on the dollar bill, which survive to this day. The eye enclosed in a triangle echoes the apocalyptic visions of an obscure medieval seer, Joachim de Fiore, while the pyramid, left unfinished, suggests a pinnacle of human wisdom that is still to be reached.

The symbols reflected the millennial yearnings that fuelled the American Revolution — a belief in building a Heaven on Earth, as well as a better society. They are directly related to the similar symbols that cover the secret scroll of Kirkwall.

Henry St Clair had failed in his attempt to build a new Jerusalem in the New World, but the dollar bill and the sacred scroll ensured that his Templar vision lived on.

ABRIDGED extract published in the Daily Mail, UK, from The Secret Scroll by Andrew Sinclair published by Sinclair-Stevenson at £19.99.

The Strange Tale of the Kirkwall Scroll, The Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye, and the Great Seal of the United States of America.
By Cort Lindahl

The true origins of the Great Seal of the United States have already been exposed by researcher Gary Gianotti. It appears that the creation of the Great Seal was done in a tradition that dictates the talismanic use of symbols that have hidden meanings and histories to convey a message that possibly only adepts would be privy to. Mr. Gianotti’s work has exposed the true meanings and origins of the Great Seal and he identifies Robert Scott as the person behind the engraving of the Great Seal and many other mysterious objects of United States History. Much of Mr. Gianotti’s work has given us a new view of these symbols that may include many previously unknown tenets. Many conspiracy theories seem to have inaccurately placed the origins of this great part of American and Scottish history.

Some new information that may compliment Gary’s findings with regard to the Great Seal would include family relations of Mr. Scott that had also practiced this hidden activity and value over a wide span of time prior to the creation of the United States. Gary had already established a clear bloodline in association with his theories with regard to the Great Seal. Indeed this activity appears to be still occurring in the modern world with many ancient symbols and architectural forms in this milieu still being created.

By examining some of the blood relatives earlier and later in Scott’s genealogy some startling facts about the Great Seal, Kirkwall Scroll, Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye and more may be exposed. Along the way a study of the Great Seal and its symbolism may expose some historical events that have previously been ignored or simply theorized. It is clear that Scott was part of a dynasty of inter related families that also contributed a great deal to the settlement of Canada and the United States.

Part of the tradition of the so called ‘First Families’ of the United States included a vast knowledge of ancient symbolism and spirituality. It is clear that from the Declaration of Arbroath that Scottish nobility had a belief that they and the Irish had descended from Egyptian and Scythian Royalty. From this they likely believed that they had the right to fulfill the legacy of these ancient cultures in the modern world. Much of this value translates to the Great Seal of the United States via the ancient symbols that are present on the seal itself as well as the U.S. one dollar bill. In addition the Great Seal is featured on the entryways of many Federal courthouses and administrative buildings all over the country.

Three of the most easily recognizable symbols that comprise the Great Seal are the truncated pyramid, the all seeing eye, and the Phoenix bird that many feel the eagle on the seal actually represents. Indeed many early versions or drafts of the Great Seal include a bird with a plume on its crown that does not resemble the eagle and is representative of the Phoenix of the Mithraic faith of what was once the Persian Empire. Mithraism would also go on to be very popular in the Legions of Rome at about the time of Christ. Interestingly some of the origins of fabled Knighthoods may lay in the working and values of the Byzantine (Greek) and Roman (Latin) Legionaries themselves. The all seeing eye symbol is clearly associated and documented as being a product of dynastic Egypt.

By examining the involvement and value of these symbols by both the forebears and descendants of Robert Scott some new views of history may be revealed. In fact these revelations may indicate that men from Europe who felt they had an Egyptian pedigree may have actually attempted to claim the entire Nile basin for their home country. There are six men whose lives may be examined that seem to expose the true nature of why these symbols may have been featured on the Great Seal and also were representative of this family groups goals and philosophies.

Robert Scot (a distant forebear of the R. Scott who created the seal) was a thirteenth century scholar referred to as a ‘travelling magi’ by many accounts of the day. He served as advisor to Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and indeed was likely related to him via their common Norman heritage. During Fredericks reign he built the octagonal tower present at San Giovanni en Tumba at Monte ‘Sant Angelo, Italy. It is likely that Robert Scot had a hand in the placement of this structure and its use as a temporal axis mundi used to mark additional places of value on the globe. The octagon of ‘Sant Angelo points to the Tower of the Winds in Athens and the International Peace Garden on the border of the U.S. and Canada that was later created in the same tradition by the same familial group. Many of these octagonal structures were built to value the Tower of the Winds and the legacy of the octagons built by Emperor Constantine.

The original purpose of the site of the modern Peace Garden may have served as an axis mundi or datum used to measure property. Robert Scot clearly held the geometric and geographic skills to calculate a point on the earth in relation to another using star logs or ephemeris that had been collected at the Tower of the Winds in Athens in this case. Scot had studied extensively at the University in Toledo Spain and had learned many of the Moorish scientific concepts that may have been suppressed during the dark ages.

James Bruce was also what many considered a traveling magi or scholar. He lived in the late eighteenth century and was an amazing character of his day. His manifestation of the family tradition is undoubtedly linked to his ancestry that included none other than Robert the Bruce King of Scotland. James Bruce was an amazing man that had an immense impact on the philosophies society at large, Masonry, and other occult oriented secret societies and orders. Bruce was a world traveler in an era when this was not necessarily a normal thing. Bruce was known to have travelled to Baalbek and Palmyra in Syria. Bruce traveled to Ethiopia to search for the headwaters of the Nile. He returned with the earliest verifiable copy of the Book of Enoch and Kebra Nagast found to that point. Later he would discover in Alexandria the original manuscripts that comprised the Pistis Sophia. Notably the Pistis Sophia contains an early rendering of the Gnostic Cross. This type of cross is associated with Egyptian Oriental Christianity and is similar to the well known Egyptian Ankh symbol.

The Gnostic Cross is a symbol that is featured prominently on both the Great Cross of Hendaye and the famous Kirkwall Scroll in Scotland. It is clear that both the Great Cross (mid seventeenth century) and scroll (fifteenth century) predate the discovery of these manuscripts by Bruce. What is significant is that Bruce was noted as being the first one to return with an ancient authenticated version of the Codex containing the Pistis Sophia, The Kebra Nagast, and Book of Enoch. He was said to have obtained his copy of the Book of Enoch and Kebra Nagast in Ethiopia and the codex that comprised the Pistis Sophia in Alexandria, Egypt. A value of these books and their associated symbols may in turn expose a value of the so called Oriental or Egyptian Coptic forms of mystical Christianity. In this regard these belief systems were not included in the accepted Christian cannon accepted at the Council of Nicea. There are also distant hints that this faith was valued by some Byzantine royal dynasties.

It may be no coincidence that some scholars compare the Kebra Nagast volume to the Book of Mormon. The Kebra Nagast tells the story of the origins of Ethiopia and its line of Solomnic Kings. The passages concerned with the arrival of the Israelites in Ethiopia may have inspired parts of the Book of Mormon since many note the similarities in these two stories. These volumes did become available during the era of creation of the Mormon faith so it is not out of the question that Mason Joseph Smith had heard of and read the works of James Bruce. As we may see this volume would have held a special importance to James Bruce and others that shared his noble Scottish heritage.

This association may have played out at a later date during the creation of the Mormon Religion by Josheph Smith. There are many clues that the faith of Mormon is somehow related to Masonry with a few speculating that it was outright created by Masons with Smith later taking the faith in his own direction and displeasing his Masonic masters. The Book of the Holy Grail by J.R. Ploughman states that Smith was a Knights Templar Strict Observance American Rite as was Thomas Jefferson. Many tales of Joseph Smith state that he displayed the ‘hand up’ Masonic distress signal at the time of his death.

This is curious because it is unknown how the Kebra Nagast, Pistis Sophia and Book of Enoch were viewed during at least the time of the creation of the Kirkwall Scroll, which is said to be in the fifteenth century long before the time of Bruce. How did the earlier creators of the scroll and those in Masonry that value Enochian concepts develop these values before Bruce had found copies of the originals? The answer would have to be that they had access to these ancient manuscripts for a long time before the era of James Bruce. It seems this value as displayed on the Kirkwall Scroll was well defined long before the time of James Bruce. Perhaps the views expressed on the Declaration of Arbroath had been backed up by their knowledge of these very concepts at that time. This may comprise the evidence that gave them the caveat to claim that they were descendants of Egypt. As we may see the significance of the true age of the scroll may pale in comparison to the information exposed when viewing it as a displaying the influence of James Bruce.

Logically it may be surmised that they had access to these ancient works at least during the time of the thirteenth century Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem or possibly just prior to their regime there. It is possible that somehow Bruce and other Scottish nobles had become privy to this information because of the Crusades. It may have been during this era that this family line actually discovered these concepts and adapted them as part of the cultural heritage displayed in the Declaration of Arbroath. Alternately they had found this information long before that time.

It is also highly likely that knowledge of the Ethiopian Jews existence was known of by the Ptolmaic Greek rulers of Egypt after the time of Alexander the Great (327BC). There are records of the Greeks and Romans visiting Merowe, Sudan and seeing the smaller steep sided pyramids that seem to be present on the Great Seal of the United States. An imperial knowledge in Rome of the pyramids of Merowe is also displayed in Rome. The Pyramid of Cestius was built in 18B.C. and is said to be based on the ‘Nubian’ pyramids of Sudan. Originally the Cestius Pyramid had a twin known as the Romulus pyramid located on what is the grounds of the Vatican today. So here we see a Ptolamaic Greek and Roman value of the same types of pyramids seen on the Great Seal. Is it possible that these Roman pyramids were the inspiration for the Great Seal and Drummond’s Star Pyramid at Stirling. This is possible but it is known that both Bruce and Drummond traveled in the region of Sudan where these same type of pyramids are located and likely saw them in their original context. It may be assumed that both had also seem the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome.

This may be important because it is possible that Bruce was using ancient Ptolmaic or Roman accounts that included the pyramids to guide him up the Nile to his final destination. If a value of the Roman pyramids were included in the philosophies of Bruce it would still fit a value of ancient Kings whom he may have thought he was related to. The Royal line of Rome (Cestius) that valued this form in Rome may also possibly be related to the ancient lines the Scottish Kings referred to in the Declaration of Arbroath. Lots of signs point to a value of these strange smaller pyramids in Sudan. The question lingers as to why this small out of the way place would be valued in such a manner?

There are many theories of the Knights Templar and other groups existent at the time of the Latin Kingdom searching for lost knowledge and relics not only in the Holy Land but in other far ranging places like Aksum and Lalibela Ethiopia. Coincidentally a place that fascinated people like James Bruce and other later family members who would also travel this region in search of not only information but possibly to prove that an ancient claim had been made by their forebears on the entire Nile watershed. Aksum is also home to a far older civilization than that of the Chrisitian or Jewish Ethiopians that includes monumental architecture comprised of many megalithic obelisks. These obelisks are again different from the Egyptian form. They appear as huge pylons with doorways carved into their base. Many of the motifs seen on these more ancient structures were later repeated in the construction of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia.

In addition the story of the Queen of Sheba and her son Malik state that he brought the actual Ark of the Covenant first to Elephantine Island along the Nile in Egypt and then to Ethiopia where it changed locations several times including a stay in Lalibela finally resting in Aksum today. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the actual Ark of the Covenant resides in the Church of St. Mary to this day. These men’s travels up the Nile River also followed what they may have believed to be the path of the Ark of the Covenant. Is it possible that the Ptolemaic rules of Egypt and then the Romans had also quested up the Nile to Ethiopia in search of something? Had these earlier groups laid claim to the Nile basin prompting a later blitz of European explorers in search of the claim markers so they could co-opt the claim it themselves?

Some light may be shed on these questions by examining the development of the Egyptian culture. Most scholars agree that many of the concepts that are considered to be classic Egyptian originated in the Upper Nile or the region of Sudan and Ethiopia. The town of Merowe in Sudan has the largest concentration of these small steep sided pyramids and was indeed a large city prior to the times of dynastic Egypt. Though the small pyramids were added during a later era anthropologists point to this region also known as Nubia as the seed source of the Egyptian culture. Merowe was once the capitol of what would become Egypt. Is is possible that Bruce and the others had surmised this in their journeys and thus the value of the pyramids located there?

Supporting this notion are the facts surrounding a sojourn made to this region by two additional family relations of both the Robert Scot and James Bruce. All of these men are ultimately related to Scottish and Norman Royalty. Both of these later men would share the distinct Norman heritage that seems to be a hallmark of the value of these ancient concepts. Both William Drummond (creator of the Star Pyramid) and Antoine-Michel d'Abbadie and his brother Aurnaud d’Abbadie travelled extensively in the same region that Bruce did. Both of the d’Abbadie’s were accomplished geographers. As we may see both of these men may have also had a hand in creating talismanic architecture that displayed both the concepts of the Gnostic Cross and the Great Seal of the United States. All concepts possibly related to the images on the Kirkwall scroll including the Gnostic Cross.

The legacy of the Drummond family of Scotland is well documented and amazingly three different men all named William Drummond would display tenets of their understanding of the symbology of the Gnostic Cross, and Great Seal. One of them would explore the Nile basin personally. The Gnostic Cross is also prominently featured on the Kirkwall scroll seemingly in a similar context as the one that adorns the Great Cross of Hendaye. The Scroll displays a monument similar to the Great Cross with the Gnostic Cross featured in a similar part of the statue displayed on the Hendaye monument. This may have not been an intentional illustration of the Great Cross of Hendaye but the coincidence is notable and may at least indicate a similar belief system or hidden message. The Gnostic Cross’ presence on the Kirkwall Scroll may indicate that this symbol has a place in Masonic initiations as well.

First we should look to William Drummond who was one of the First Families of Virginia at Williamsburg during the early seventeenth century. This same Scottish Drummond family is the namesake of a lake in Virginia known as Lake Drummond. Amazingly the Native American legend of the lake states that a large fiery bird had left a smoking hole there that subsequently became a lake. This legend seems to reference the same Phoenix bird that was included on the original part of the Great Seal of the United States now occupied by an eagle.

This is an amazing association that predates the creation of the Great Seal by well over a hundred years. A Scottish Drummond somehow associated with a legend of the Phoenix. Early renderings of the Great Seal clearly display a Phoenix in place of the Eagle we see today. If this story is not a Native American legend why then would the tale of the Phoenix be propagated in early Virginia? The answer may involve the fact that the Phoenix is one of the symbols of the Drummond family of Scotland. The Phoenix is associated with Mithraic and Zoroastrian concept from the Persian Empire of antiquity.

This early American William Drummond was one of the only people actually executed for his role in Bacon’s Rebellion in the Virginia Colony. This was the same era in which the Lee’s (Robert E.), Beale’s, Moncure’s, Washington’s, and many other First Families were establishing their dynasties in what would become the United States. The Drummond family would go on to make their mark on United States history without William. The Beale Treasure Legend, the octagons of Thomas Jefferson, and the creation of the ‘Moncure’ pyramid in Wyoming in the 1930’s displays a continuation of the talismanic values of this family line in the same manner their forebears had displayed.

Secondly we have Sir William Drummond known for his expertise in ancient cultures and deciphering ancient inscriptions. Drummond travelled extensively through the ancient world of the Mediterranean rim. He is most known for interpreting ancient rock art at Gibraltar that referred to Hani-Baal or the famous Carthaginian leader Hannibal. Sir Drummond’s birthdate is unknown but he was a contemporary of James Bruce and it is likely that the two at least knew of each other. Sir Drummond passed in 1828 after having written a long document comparing the Bible as a metaphor for a faith based on astrology.

This is an amazing concept that actually seems to be displayed at Gothic Cathedrals especially at Chartres Cathedral and its Zodiac Rose Window. He never published this work for fear of censure by his academic peers but is today known for these views. Interestingly part of Drummonds career was spent as Scottish envoy to the Royal Court of Naples and the Ottoman Empire. The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily had long been the domain of Drummond’s Norman ancestors and direct family. This was the same Royal Court that his forebear Robert Scot had been a part of during the time of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.

The last Drummond in this tale actually once traveled to Ethiopia and what is today Sudan in a region known for its small steep sided pyramids just like the one featured on the Great Seal of the United States. He would also display his value of this form by returning to Scotland and building what is known of as Star Pyramid or the ‘Salem Stone on the grounds of Stirling Castle in Scotland. Star Pyramid is clearly a rendering of the same steep sided smaller pyramids that are located along the Upper Nile in what is today Sudan near Merowe. Is this symbol on the Great Seal telling us something more than the standard ‘Illumnati’ interpretation most researchers refer to? There is an amazing connection between the legend of Bacon’s Vault in Williamsburg and a mystery existent at Stirling. Both mysteries involve coded messages left on gravestones and are deciphered using ‘Books of Emblems.’ (More on that in my next book). The Star Pyramid seems to be part of this mystery existent on the ground of Stirling Castle.

The type of Nubian Pyramid seen by Drummond and Bruce seem to be what is displayed on the Great Seal of the United States and not the more gently sloping pyramids featured at Giza in Lower Egypt. Given the fact that the later Scottish American Robert Scott was likely the creator of the Great Seal what connections or cultural values may be ascertained by this William Drummonds value of this type of pyramid? So far two William Drummonds directly reference symbols present on the Great Seal and the third contributed a wealth of academic knowledge that may have contributed to a value of these concepts. Why would William Drummond construct such a pyramid at Stirling of all places?

In addition we have James Bruce verifying and documenting the Pistis Sophia, Kebra Nagast, and Book of Enoch by obtaining ancient copies of both works. Both of these works are valued by Masons and seem to have had a role in the development of that craft. Were these men searching for some unknown relic or information in their sojourns to the upper Nile and Ethiopia or is there more to it? Why would they actually search for the headwaters of a water course? Were they there to simply log geographic features? It is clear that they all had an investment of family tradition and destiny in their travels. What they learned and searched for would go on to have an immense impact on the development of Masonry and the history of the western world. These men’s academic prowess and travels may reflect a hidden quest for specific items or relics from antiquity they knew of and searched for.

Two other brothers from France both distant Norman relations to these men would go on to also search for the source of the Nile just as James Bruce and possibly the third William Drummond had done. These two men’s family legacy also includes one of the most storied and mysterious monuments uncovered in any study of the axis mundi or the historical development of the art of navigation.

Arnaud-Michel d’Abbadie (24 July 1815 – 13 November 1893) described as a ‘Basque Geographer’ and his brother Antoine-Thomson d’Abbadie (3 January 1810 – 19 March 1897) again an accomplished geographer would also explore Ethiopia just as their other Scots Norman relations had. The d’Abbadie brothers were both born in Dublin, Ireland to what were said to have been Basque nobility. Their family home was in Soule, France. The d’Abbadies were a solidly Catholic family. Apparently some of the arms included in their Basque domains included likenesses of the flag of Scotland and the Fleur d’ lies. The legacy of these two men would include a strange monument known as the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye in France.

Loosely translanted d’Abbadie means ‘of the abbey.’ This is a reference to a monk or ecclesiastical figure. The d’Abbadie’s family includes a rich legacy including a famous French Arcadian military leader Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie Saint-Castin. Jean-Vincent’s descendants would go on to have a major impact on Canadian history. Other relations included a governor of Louisiana Jean-Jacques Blaise d’Abbadie (1763-65), and Daniel d’Abbadie of England and Ireland an employee of the East India Company. This link to the region of Arcadia by two of these men is interesting and notable. Louisiana is where all the Acadians were moved to from eastern Canada at one point. This is where the term ‘Cajun or Ar’cajun comes from. Language of the Birds.

Seemingly the most important d’Abbadie in what would manifest the legacy of Antione and Arnoud may their Heugenot ancestor Jakob d’Abbadie. The name Jakob may be interpreted with different pronunciations within the geographical bounds of Western Europe. In Germany and Switzerland Jakob was normal. In France this may have been pronounced Jacques. In English this would be pronounced James. Jakob was a clergyman of the late seventeenth century. He lived in England and Ireland after fleeing persecution of the Heugenots under Louis XIV in France. It is interesting that the form of James is included here. This variety of name pronunciations is one of the slightly hidden tenets of St. James himself. Is it possible that Jakob or a value of him has to do with a hidden value or alternate view of St. James or the Camino de Santiago. The Great Cross and Hendaye is included in one of the branch route of the Camino itself.

His birthplace may be confused by many because Switzerland and France have towns called Hay(e) where he was supposed to be from. The French town of this name is in the Pyrenees Atlantique province of France. This is the same region as Hendaye and the traditional home of the d’Abbadie family. It is not clear if there is even a town named Hay in Switzerland where most biographies of Jakob place his birth. It is clear as a student Jakob was educated in southern France. Either way it is clear he is of the same line of d’Abbadies that later valued the Great Cross of Hendaye. Both Arnaud and Antione were said to have been from Dublin, Ireland where Jakob resided for the latter part of his life.

Amazingly in addition to his ecclesiastical duties, Jakob d’Abbadie composed many religious and socially observational tracts of literature during his lifetime. He composed a memorial for deceased Queen Mary after her death and also a tract condemning a Jacobite plot to assassinate William III. The latter work was produced at the request of the King. One of his pieces may have later had a large impact on the hidden values of Arnaud and Antoione our Ethiopian explorers. The later d’Abbadies had created a millennial monument possibly warning one of cyclical changes in the earth. This tradition of millennial monuments has been repeated many times before and after the d’Abbadie’s value of the Great Cross of Hendaye. Part of the secrets revealed in the Great Cross may include metaphors about how to navigate using the location of the cross and the star charts collected by the d’Abbadie’s in their nearby observatory.

Jakob published his work “Le Triomphe de la Providence et de la Religion; ou, l'Ouverture des sept Seaux par le Fils de Dieu, où l'on trouvera la première partie de l'Apocalypse clairement expliquée par ce qu'il y a de plus connu dans l'Histoire et de moins contesté dans la Parole de Dieu. Avec une nouvelle et très-sensible Démonstration de la Vérité de la Religion Chrétienne (1723)” or “The Triumph of Providence and Religion; or the opening of the seven seals by the Son of God, where we find the first part of the Apocalypse clearly explained by what he experienced therein history and less challenged in the Word God. With a new and very sensitive Demonstration of the Truth of the Christian Religion.”

This work is a millennially themed piece about the Book of Revelations and the Seven Seals. This is an amazingly similar theme to that assigned to the Great Cross of Hendaye as discussed in the book “Mystery of the Cathedrals.” It may be possible that some of the value the d’Abbadie’s had for the Cyclic Cross of Hendaye sprung from an appreciation of their forebear and the theme of the end of the world. Alexander Von Humboldt in the era just prior to the d’Abbadie brothers had unlocked the millennial secrets of the Aztec Sunstone using modern scientific methods. There is little doubt that the d’Abbadie brothers were aware of and valued the work of Von Humboldt.

One of the first monuments on earth to display the notion of the seven seals would include the Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. One of the notable mosaics there displays a beardless and short haired Christ Pantokrator holding the seven seals in his hand. This is a clear reference to the Book of Revelations and the theme later repeated in the work of Jakob Abbadie and the symbology of the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye. The millennial theme in monuments has extended to the modern world at places like the Georgia Guidestones, and Star Chart of Hoover Dam.

Note that Basilica San Vitale is octagonal in form and does suggest important directions on the globe that may have been valued by its creators Justinian II and Arian Ostrogoth ruler Theodoric. It seems the creator of the Cross of Hendaye as well as the d’Abbadie brothers were aware of these concepts to the degree that they would both value or appreciate such a modest monument. Perhaps the monument was created by one of their ancestors from the seventeenth century. The latter seventeenth century was the era of Jakob Abbadie.

Many of he d’Abbadie’s later actions would also value scientific and cultural information that may have been used as a rationale to prove religious concepts. Part of the d’Abbadie brothers stated reason for their expedition to Africa was to find the true source of the Nile River. The d’Abbadie family were noted astronomers and had even established an astronomical observatory in Hendaye France whose stated mission is to collect an extensive star log or ephemeris from that point. Ephemeris or star logs of this type are of value in fixing longitude in ancient navigation. There are also extensive links between the d’ Abbadie’s and the famous cartographers and astronomers of the Cassini family in France. This involvement of the d’Abbadie’s may link directly to the storied Rennes le Chateau mystery via their relation to the Cassini’s (Cassini Space Probe). In many ways the d’Abbadie’s had created a legend very similar to the mythos of Rennes le Chateau. The Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye was a monument that fit in with the theme and stated purpose of their astronomical observatory. It does seem that a tradition of this bloodline includes the construction of talismanic architecture with a millennial theme and seemingly intentionally created mysteries.

Amazingly the d’Abbadie family are also said to be responsible for the installation of the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye (France) in its current location in the courtyard of the Church of St. Vincent in Hendaye. The Great Cross seems to be associated with what may be a talismanic value of the Axis Mundi as displayed in the book “Mystery of the Cathedrals” by Fulcanelli. In this book the symbols present on the Great Cross compel one (my interpretation) to use it as an octagonal axis oriented to the pole star. Many inferences and clues in the book suggest that luminaries such as Alexander Von Humboldt and Thomas Jefferson were likely aware of the Great Cross and its true interpretation.

The fact that the d’ Abbadie’s were actively recording star logs in Hendaye lends weight to the argument that this point on earth could be used to compare other points to that had also had star logs collected there. In the end this practice could help to define the true shape of the earth making navigation even more accurate. If the d’Abbadie’s collected ephemeris or knew the correct celestial body to sight they could then compare their location to that of Hendaye or any other site of observation from which a log had been collected. This would hold true even in far flung places like Ethiopia.

Antione d’ Abbadie was likely the more influential of the two brothers in this realm though they were both geographers and naturalists. He had indeed searched for the source of the Nile and had claimed its source as the start of the Blue Nile. Unlike Drummond and Bruce the d’Abbadie’s promoted the notion of Catholic missionaries in Ethiopia so this may represent a difference in these two distantly related families who none the less seemed to have similar hidden values. It is interesting to speculate what they saw there that would have them compel a Catholic church presence in such a place. This is also interesting in light of the Ethiopians earlier expulsion of Portuguese missionaries.

Antione had once even invented a new type of theodolite or surveying instrument. He was also the Mayor of Hendaye France from 1871 to 1875. This is the same d’Abbadie that established the astronomical observatory at Hendaye and it is also just prior to his stint as mayor that the Great Cross was moved to its current location. It is possible that Antione had interpreted the symbols on the Great Cross and understood their significance. Some of the appeal of the Great Cross may have to do with the fact that Hendaye is a stop on the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route that ends in Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino and Santiago de Compostela are also themes covered in Fulcanelli’s book ‘Mystery of the Cathedrals’ that also discusses the Great Cross. Both of the d’Abbadie’s, Bruce, and Drummond had careers very similar to that of Alexander Von Humboldt who had traveled the world in search of scientific and gnostic secrets and may have been the first to unlock the secrets of the Aztec Sunstone. All of these men had gone on amazing journeys and found symbols and history that would be strangely valued by their peers and families. Many of these concepts would manifest themselves in the symbolic values and architecture of the United States.

The studies of this author (Cort Lindahl) have also revealed a distinct value of the linear orientation of many Gothic Cathedrals including all of the structures discussed in Fulcanelli’s book. Each Cathedral may act as an axis or place from which to measure using an octagonal stellation of arcs on the globe along which additional talismans were built. Many Cathedrals contain an octagonal element in their domes or ceilings. Using buildings in this manner creates a virtual map projection using the building as the center of the mapped area. Calculations can be made from these points that are valid without even displaying them on a map or globe. This method makes each axis a virtual nadir or center for a map projection. The octagonal Kings Knot at Stirling Castle is such a structure as well.

This is an ancient tradition extending back to the Tower of the Winds in Athens, Heliopolis in Egypt, and likely the ‘other’ Heliopolis known as Baalbek. The Cathedral of Amiens as discussed in “Mystery of the Cathedrals” and its octagonal labyrinth displays this notion in an exemplary manner. Just as the octagonal Kings Knot at Stirling points to the Dome of the Rock and Star Pyramid the long axis orientation of the Amiens Cathedral points to the Dome of the Rock as well. This was likely in both cases an intentional arrangement. As these studies progress it is becoming more and more obvious that a certain caste of this unique family line were privy to the secrets being exposed here. They had mastered a way to accurately map the globe. In order to execute these plans they had a very advanced grasp of geodesy, geometry, and cartography.

Given the d’ Abbadie’s family history and legacy it is not surprising that they would also travel to Africa to find the source of the Nile. Apparently both of the d’Abbadie brothers were been a trained geographers and cartographers who would have been able to accurately mark the origin of this great river on the world grid. The d’ Abbadies are clearly related via Norman blood to Richard the Lion Hearted of England and also the Drummond’s and Scotts discussed above. Still the entire scenario of these men’s involvement begs the question: “What did they find in their search for the source of the Nile?” What part of this story is not being told? It is possible that part of their quest included verifying what Bruce had found earlier and to locate whatever new information they could gather.

Why would these men be so obsessed with establishing the origin point of this great river? What family legacy would compel them to search for such things? What hidden information had been uncovered in Jerusalem that would lend credence to this theory?

The answer to that question may lay in the fact the Upper Nile region and what is today Egypt (Lower Nile) could have been claimed by their forebears that were part of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Alternately the Latin Kings may have been attempting to coopt an earlier Greek or Byzantine claim. The tradition of claiming property in that era would have involved knowledge of astronomy and cartography. These skills would allow a nationality or royal group to claim property in terms that the others could understand. It is a legal precedent somewhat similar to aspects of maritime law in the modern world.

In order to do this they would have had to establish observatories in the tradition of the Tower of the Winds in many far flung places. This is apparently what was done on the estates of many landed gentry in England and France during the same period Bruce was traveling Ethiopia. Places like Shugborough Hall, and The West Wycombe estate of Sir Francis Dashwood included reproductions of the Tower of the Winds in Athens that functioned in the same manner as the original. Even earlier in America the Powder Magazine in Williamsburg and the Newport Tower had been constructed in this tradition. It is not out of the question that Lalibela Ethiopia’s rock hewn churches were created in this tradition. The array of obelisk and windrose markers at the Vatican points directly to Lalibela.

In order to claim the Nile watershed someone would have had to have left a marker at a point near the origin of this watercourse that could be defined on the globe and accepted by competitors. The entire notion of these men searching the upper Nile fits a pattern of behavior that suggests they may have been looking for a claim marker left by the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem that virtually claimed all of Upper and Lower Egypt as well as the environs of what is today Ethiopia. This very same conflict and search for property defining stones would later be repeated between the French and English in the settlement of America. Both parties seemed to have been searching for items that had been left prior and may have established ownership of vast regions. It is also possible that the Portuguese and Spanish pilots claimed land in this manner for their sovereign.

There are many tales of so called ‘Templars’ coming to Lalibela and Aksum Ethiopia in search of the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Any seekers of the Lost Ark would have had good reason to think it is there in that there are references to this story in the Old Testament. Some of the rock hewn churches in Lalibela form a Greek Cross from plan view that in turn suggests an octagon. The legacy of Mescal Lalibela later building rock hewn churches in Lalibela post dates any visits by the Templars. More weight may be added to this theory due to the fact that a legend exists that Lallibela had been built to serve as a kind of proxy for Jerusalem during its Muslim occupation.

A more practical value of their travels up the Nile may have been to claim property as part of their rights to do so as understood by the rest of the western world. Is it possible that somehow this it true? It is certainly inferred that there was more to their interest in this region than simply defining the source of a great river. It fits the paradigms set forth for the claiming of property and may also explain some of the more arcane subjects such as the origins of the Great Seal. If true each one of the Knights that had travelled from the Holy Land to Ethiopia would have seen the unique small steep sided pyramids that exist in Sudan right along the river. Both explorers Drummond, Bruce, and the d’Abbadie’s in their travels may have also seen these sights.

In this way this symbol may have worked its way into the mythology and lore of the bloodline that had created the United States of America and its inclusion on the Great Seal of the United States. It is possible that at the time of these men’s visits that they did not realize the pyramids in Morowe were more recent additions not associated with the original Kings they may have valued or been seeking information about.

Some evidence that may display how James Bruce’s discoveries were valued by Masonry may be observed in a relic known as the Kirkwall Scroll. The Kirkwall Scroll resides at the Masonic Lodge of Kirkwall Killwinning no. 38(2) in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. This artifact has had a hotly debated origin in Masonic and historical circles. Different portions of the scroll that have been radiocarbon dated bring back a date of anywhere from the late eighteenth century to sometime in the fifteenth century. The scroll seems to be composed of a wide central portion with two more narrow strips of cloth having been added to the margins of both sides of the scroll. The older date comes from the wider central portion while the later dates came from the outer margins. It is possible that the outer margins were added later.

Other Masonic historians and researchers have gathered information that suggests that the entire scroll was likely produced in the late eighteenth century. By comparing the origins of some of the words, script, and symbols used on the scroll it may be difficult to assume it was created in the fifteenth century. A fifteenth century date for the Kirkwall Scroll may help to support the notion that some of the cultural affiliations mentioned in tandem with Scottish nobility on the Declaration of Arbroath may indeed be true. This may be why it is at least theorized to be of a much older time than it actually is.

The Declaration of Arbroath states that these nobles including Robert the Bruce believed they had descended from Egyptian and Scythian nobility at a much earlier time. This coincides with the story of Queen Scota emigrating to Ireland and Scotland from Galicia (Spain) with her travels beginning in Egypt. If one disregards how old the scroll is either way some interesting possibilities are still exposed. As it turns out either creation date for the Kirkwall Scroll may help to prove that they were indeed related to ancient nobility and even possibly some characters mentioned in the Old Testament. One unique discovery or realization of James Bruce during his Ethiopian sojourn serves to illustrate this point.

Many of the notable explorers discussed already had traveled to the realms depicted on the margins of the scroll. Most analysts of the scroll all agree that it seems to depict Mesopotamia and the Nile basin on the two added margins. Some of the script on the scroll is interpreted as being Enochian by some observers so this would fit an Ethiopian theme related to James Bruce bringing back sacred manuscripts (or copies of) that all seemed to play a central role in Masonic thought and philosophy. Indeed many of these manuscripts are valued by others outside of the Masonic sphere as well. If the script on the scroll was known prior to Bruce this may be significant. If this script was not known of until Bruce returned from Ethiopia then this is also important.

Given the themes present on the scroll a good guess to at least the inspiration of its subject matter would be the travels of James Bruce. It is doubtful that James Bruce created the Kirkwall scroll but he did live and thrive during the period that the later radiocarbon dates of the scroll indicate. This date range may also match the period during which some scholars suppose the symbology on the scroll was first used in Masonry. This is also the era in which the Great Seal of the United States was being designed and developed.

Did James Bruce inspire the creation of the Kirkwall Scroll? This is at the very least a possibility. Bruce had traveled to all the places displayed on the scroll and so had both explorers Drummond and likely the d’Abbadie’s as well. In a strange way the Kirkwall scroll may have been a result of these men’s quest to identify the headwaters of the Nile River or what ever else they may have been searching for. The entire story of all of these men searching the outback of Africa for the headwaters of a river does seem implausible at times. They must have been looking for something else.

There may be many surprising revelations in this vein present in James Bruce’s book “Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773.” This tome tells the tale of Bruce’s adventures in Ethiopia some of which are spectacular and adventurous. Perhaps the outrageousness the things that happened to Bruce caused some of his critics to accuse him of fabricating some of the story. History went on to bear out all the claims of Bruce as others explored the region in his footsteps. In fact Bruce had been preceded in his quest for the headwaters of the Nile by Portuguese explorers who later even brought Catholic missionaries to Ethiopia. Ultimately the presence of these missionaries caused them to ban the Portuguese in their country with severe penalties for any that were found there.

Bruce was a highly educated man who had the skills of an geographer, anthropologist, writer, and artist. While his narrative style is descriptive in a scientific and informational sense the adventure is laid bare as one reads along. Much of what is said in the book as well as the majority of what Bruce spent his time doing there may indicate that he had an ulterior motive for coming to Ethiopia in the first place. Had his mission been to secure these ancient manuscripts rather than identifying what turned out to be the source of the Blue Nile even though the Portuguese had done so years before?

There is even a passage in the book that describes how Bruce found some striking similarities between his heritage and that of Ethiopian Royalty. As he got to know the gentry and priesthood of Ethiopia it seems that they gradually came to trust James Bruce as an equal and not a European who had come to subjugate them as others had before. Some biographies of Bruce state that he was offered a command in the Ethiopian Kings Calvary.

The Ethiopians have a strong identity and have always displayed a willingness to ruthlessly defend their land. At one point the entire royal lineage of the Ethiopian Kings was laid out for Bruce to examine. It was during his studies and discussions of Ethiopian Royalty that he came to an amazing and personal discovery. It is likely this information came from the Kebra Nagast; one of the volumes that he would eventually have copied and returned home with. This volume illustrates the succession of Kings of Ethiopia descendant of King Solomon of Jerusalem.

It seems that Bruce discovered that there had been an Ethiopian King ninety-eight years before Christ who shared the same name as the Royal family he was a part of. There had been an Ethiopian King named Brus. Interesting in this sense that both the Royal arms of Scotland and Ethiopia include a Lion. Bruce also noted this similarity, as this discovery seemed to delight him immensely. He even wrote of discussing the similarities between the two royal lines while having to also not say that he was part of the same lineage or had the same status as the Ethiopian Kings.

What Bruce likely did not convey to his hosts is that he and his ancestors had a strong belief that they may have evolved from similar origins to King Solomon just as the Ethiopian Kings had. Here Bruce had independent confirmation of this ancient belief. The fact that there was once an Ethiopian King of this name distantly connected to his heritage may have been easier for Bruce to believe or consider as truth than his hosts could guess. This discovery must have given Bruce great cause to ponder the possibilities as it likely amazed him on many different levels. This is a unique and synchronous occurrence. To Bruce this may have meant he was related to King Solomon himself. In turn he may have deduced that he was descendant of the very kings the Egyptian culture had sprung from!

It is well known via the legend of the Queen of Sheba and her son Malik I that the Ark of the Covenant had been brought to Ethiopia in the ninth century B.C. Malik I also seemed to have brought the faith of Judaisim along with him when he left Jerusalem with the Ark as that faith has an ancient tradition in Ethiopia. Malik I was said to be the son of King Solomon he who brought this bloodline to Ethiopia. There are images of the Queen of Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant featured in the statuary of Chartres Cathedral displaying the widespread acceptance of this tale. (See my other work. ‘The Path of the Ark of the Covenant’ for some amazing geographic associations between the Vatcian axis, Lalibela, and Chartres. Both places are pointed to in opposite directions using the windrose and obelisk at the Vatican as a datum).

It is likely that Judaism was the primary faith in Ethiopia from the time of Malik I until Coptic Egyptians (Greeks/Byzantines) introduced Christianity to them sometime after Christ. Many Ethiopian art and architecture motifs resemble that of the Byzantines. Some of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela are even seen as a Greek Cross from plan view also suggestive of an octagon. Further comparisons would include similarities with the traditional Greek Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Some of the symbols present in Ethiopia could easily be mistaken as ‘Templar’ revealing this association with Egyptian Coptics in Alexandria. In the end the Templar Cross is a type of Greek Cross. Even though some ‘Templars’ may have visited Lalibela it may be that these symbols were already there and valued at the time of their arrival.

Given what James Bruce had found in Ethiopia and his possible true motives for visiting there what may we assume of the involvement of the Portuguese earlier as well as similar adventures by the d’Abbadie brothers? If per chance claim markers had been left at the headwaters of the Nile they were likely left by Portuguese explorers who may have allegiances to a specific order of knighthood or secret society. They had lived during the era when this may have been more common though the Greeks may have utilized this method as well. This information may have leaked out to some of the members of these sects in other countries later becoming available to the Latin Kings of Jerusalem.

During the Portuguese tenure in Ethiopia a great Jesuit European scholar named Athanasius Kircher was fascinated by and wrote of Ethiopia. Many of his assumptions about Ethiopia were incorrect though he was a brilliant mathematician and scholar. Even Nicolas Poussion a figure central to the Rennes le Chateau mystery had been a student of Kircher’s. Poussin had painted the painting ‘The Shepherds of Arcadia’ that included a rendering of the inscription ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ that is featured in Henry Lincoln’s version of the Rennes le Chateau mystery. This imagery is also featured on the famous Shepherd’s monument at Shugborough Hall in England. Is it possible that these Arcadia references are related to d’Abbadie’s that actually existed in French Arcadia at about the time of the production of Poussin’s painting?

Shugborough is also home to many mysteries itself including being the location at which researcher Louis Buff Parry believes the true stone of destiny is hidden. This distant connection to Poussin and Kircher is interesting in that Bruce continually refers to the Ethiopians as the ‘Shepherds’ throughout his writing. Was Bruce giving us a subtle hint that he considered Ethiopia ‘Arcadia?’ At the least he was referring to the way that they had preserved ancient writings that had been destroyed in Egypt and were no longer available anywhere else. The Ethiopians were indeed shepherds of ancient knowledge and information.

Perhaps ‘Arcadia’ and ‘Arcadians’ are simply terms for sacred places of knowledge and those who maintain them? We do see this term kind of leaving a pathway to the d’Abbadie’s involvement in many different regions of the Globe. Firstly they are from the Basque region of Spain and France, which is home to a culture of shepherd’s and once part of the domain of Queen Scota the namesake of Scotland. Next d’Abbadie’s go to French Arcadia and settle there establishing a military dynasty. Finally a d’Abbadie, governor of Louisisana , domain of the ‘Cajun’s, completes the Arcadia connection.

It is clear that a similar scenario of the French and English leaving and searching for claim markers was played out in N. America with each side looking for and either stealing or eliminating the others claims which were traditionally set at the headwaters of a river system to claim the entire watershed. As land changed hands they may have been seeking to replace these makers with their own. This activity could involve many interesting legends and truths such as the Kensington Rune, The sandstone pillar and Hebrew inscription discovered by Louis Buff Parry, the Oak Island Treasure and much more. There are several monuments in the tale of land claims in N. America many of which were added later by family members displaying knowledge of this tradition.

The d’Abbadies created the Great Cyclic Cross of Hendaye mystery even if they did not create the cross themselves. They had obviously deciphered it and put it in a place of value outside the church of St. Vincent that they paid to have had restored (Weidner, Bridges). Could the Kirkwall Scroll have been a by-product of things James Bruce and the Drummond’s had learned in their travels? All of these families were interwoven with the Stewarts and many other Scottish and English nobles. It is also clear via an examination of many of the gentried families of the world that some of their influence includes leaving monuments to their family legacies in churches of which they are the major benefactors. The Great Cross of Hendaye fits this bill. In this saga we see first families of the America leaving mysteries in this tradition at the Bruton Parish Church, All Saints Maidstone (Beale, Washington), and Bruton Parish Church Williamsburg, Virginia (Beale, Bacon, Moncure, Washington). The mysteries of Rosslyn Chapel itself may indicate that the St. Clair family had left a path of discovery more having to do with their own family than any other far reaching theories concerning Masonry and widespread conspiracy.

The Kirkwall Scroll mystery fits this pattern in a Masonic context. It appears someone may have read the works of Bruce after he had returned from his travels and created this enigmatic scroll as a response. Some comments on Bruce’s work at that time suggest its distribution was limited to Masonic groups. The scroll itself also seems to act as a kind of Masonic tracing board that may teach lessons to initiates at different levels suggesting only parts of the scroll were revealed as one progressed. If the scroll does depict episodes in Bruce’s life then he had gone through the ultimate path of initiation.

The bonus information revealed to initiates at Kirkwall using this scroll may have also included a mystery as to what the strange map like qualities of the scroll actually meant. If they were to examine the most well known adventurer of their day as the source of these mysteries they would inevitably be led to at least the suspicion that the scroll had been inspired by the travels and gnostic influence of James Bruce descendant of Robert the Bruce King of Scotland.

Amazingly there are indications of a strong family link between William Graham (Graeme) who donated the Kirkwall Scroll to the Kirkwall lodge and James Bruce. Part of the genealogy of the Bruce family of Kinnaird reads as such:

“Robert Bruce of Life Gds. d. 1650, had an only heir and daughter, Helen, who married David Hay of Woodcockdale. Helen retained the name of Bruce and therefore he became David Hay-Bruce, and retained the title of Kinnaird. They had a son, David Hay-Bruce who married a daughter of James Graham, Esq. of Airth. Their son, James “Hay” Bruce was the famous African Traveler and discoverer of the white Nile. James had 6 brothers and 2 sisters, from his father's second marriage.”

*(Bruce is said to have discovered the source of the Blue Nile)

This entry clearly states that James Bruce’s mother was from the Graham family. Here the excerpt said to be from the Kirkwall Lodge records from December, 27, 1785:

"Bro. William Graeme, visiting brother from Lodge no 128 Ancient Constitution of England [Lodge Prince Edwin, In Bury East Lancs] was at his own desire admitted to become a member of this Lodge, and he accordingly signed the articles and Rules thereof"

Seven months after this entry the log book records Graeme (Graham) donating a ‘floor cloth’ that is now referred to as the Kirkwall Scroll. There is some debate if this scroll is indeed the ‘floor cloth’ yet most agree the scroll seen today is the floor cloth being referred to.

It is important to note that James Bruce’s Grandfather from his mothers line was the famous Judge Graham of the Admiralty and defender of loyalists after the first Jacobite risings. Judge Graham’s had a son named William who also produced another William Graham. Though it is tempting to ascribe the creation of the scroll to one of these two good men we may consider an alternative.

It may be that a collateral relative of James Bruce’s mother was the William Graham who donated the scroll. The entire legacy of the Graham’s and Bruce’s crosses paths several times through history. A quick check reveals two marriages between the families. In addition James Bruce’s mother’s second marriage was to a Hamilton whose family still held the title of Earl of Orkney where Kirkwall is located. James Bruce had a half brother who was a Hamilton. A Hamilton Earl of Orkney had also once been defacto Governor of Colonial Virginia. His Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood was a family relation and creator of the octagonal Powder Magazine in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is then no coincidence that the Graham who had donated the scroll was the customs inspector for Kirkwall.

Given the era in which the Scroll appeared it is likely that the William Graham who donated the Kirkwall Scroll may have several different links to noble blood including a value of the legacy of James Bruce. He lived during the same era as Bruce so it is even likely that they knew each other and were aware of their familial relation. Given the dynamics of how gentry value each other one may assume that these two men carried the same blood. The Graham family also is one of the influential gentry families of Scotland.
James Bruce’s grandfather Robert is also important in the overall interests of this family at large. Robert marks the second association of James Bruce and his family with the creation of the Hudson’s Bay Company originally established by Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The Graham family was intimately associated with shipping with and for the Hudson’s Bay Company. James Bruce’s great grandfather ‘Robert Bruce of the Life Guards’ was a Cavalier bodyguard of Charles I. This is an amazing association with John Beale also a Life Guard during this era whose family may be responsible for the legend of the Bruton Parish Church Vault (Bacon’s Vault) in Williamsburg as well as the Beale Treasure Legend of Bedford County, Virginia.

Both of these men may have been under the command of Prince Rupert who was the head of the Life Guards during this period. All of these associations may infer that all of these men were loyal to the Jacobite cause and may have had motives of their own in the establishment of the United States of America and other ventures such as the Hudson’s Bay Company. Some well known monuments in the U.S. and Canada may be associated with the way land was claimed in the past.

In the end we would be forced to at least consider a historical personage(s) being the impetus for maps of Mesopotamia and the Nile being featured on the Kirkwall Scroll. During the very same time frame only within a few years of each other we have Bruce and Sir Drummond traveling the ancient world followed closely by the d’ Abbadie’s and yet another William Drummond. The d’ Abbadie’s and later William Drummond left monuments in their wake at Hendaye and Stirling Castle using themes that were valued in places they had visited. These men’s work had brought real evidence home to prove the reality of the symbols and cultures they valued. Their tradition and family legacy from the Kings of Egypt and the old world had been given a great deal of rationale in reality as well which undoubtedly inspired them personally. Some of this information was likely shared with their families who would have appreciated it as well.

In addition it should not be overlooked that many of these symbols would be incorporated into the Great Seal of the United States of America. The same families and more would go on to play a large role in the creation of the United States of America. In the colonies the dynamics of the first families of New England, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia seemed to mirror those of and include members of English and Scottish gentry. The symbolic values of these people would be incorporated into our architecture, money, artwork, and legacy. Works of art like the Great Seal of the United States and the Washington monument reflect these values in an overt manner. Washington D.C. and countless other places in the U.S. serve as testimony to the artwork and mysteries solved by people like Bruce and Drummond. It is no surprise then that the same values would be apparent in organizations like Masonry who did play a substantial role in the creation of the country as well.

These concepts have been developed in some cases into historical mysteries that may serve as paths of initiation valued by certain orders or specific groups of people. There seems to be a clear evolution through time with regard to mysterious conundrums such as the Kirkwall Scroll.

The more modern form of these quests may be exemplified by places such as Rennes le Chateau, the Georgia Guidestones, Coral Castle, The Star Chart at Hoover Dam, The Maryhill Stonehenge, and The Peace Arch and International Peace Garden. At each of these places a monument is included that may be considered a millennial monument. Each of these places has the influence of one of this family line. Ultimately the lesson these places teach you may be rooted in practical geometry and navigation which was once a cloistered and at points an alchemical art.

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